How should I approach my family about moving away?


I’ve got quite a lot going on and just wanted to have advice or comments from complete strangers.

My main issue, I think, is that my parents are very kind people but have not been very supportive, particularly in my adult life, of decisions I make. Eventually, they seem to come around and are happy, most of the time.
Some background, I come from an immigrant family but my parents are very ‘Americanized’. My parents were very young when I was born and had very little experience of life. I am shy and introverted and have always had trouble talking with my parents. We are very different in what we want from life and what we enjoy, in general.

We’ve lived in a small town in the midwest, though I don’t think we ever fit in and I’ve always wanted to leave so that is what I did after I went to college. I’m personally extremely happy with my life and have since lived in 4 countries and had a variety of jobs. I am not rich by any means, but I have been able to comfortably support myself financially since I was 20 (I’m 26.)

I’ve also been in a serious relationship for the last six years and am engaged to be married this year. Most of his family lives in Australia and we both plan to live for a year on a work visa and hopefully get citizenship and settle there.

For the past 2 years I’ve had a wonderful job as a nanny in the U.S. (though not at home, but in a different city.) It’s probably one of the most difficult jobs to leave as I began looking after the baby when she was 2 months old.

I’ve definitely made up my mind to leave and I know that it will be what is best for us. I want to be excited and enjoy this time in preparation, but I am terrified to tell my parents and my employer.

My mom often makes me feel guilty about traveling or wanting the kind of life I do. She especially does not understand why I would ever want to move and if I mention even traveling for a year, she will tell me about people in our family who will (probably) die and imply I do not care about them. Though I love my (extended) family, we are not close and relations have always seemed very formal. I see them now about once or twice a year and I would still want to come see them. Some of this difficulty comes from me being shy. I know that I am an adult, but I still wish my parents to be pleased with me and I do not want to seem selfish and uncaring (because I am not, I think.)

Honestly, confronting my employer and saying goodbye will be much more emotionally difficult for me and I do not want them to think I reject them. With an unsupporting family, it makes that upcoming discussion all the more stressful.

My fiancé has been incredibly understanding and caring, but his family is completely different. They support his (and our) decisions, listen to his opinions and thoughts, and respect us as people. I often feel I am talked to like a child in my own family and that my thoughts, experiences, and opinions are not valid.

I am anxious and happy to continue some of my studies, have a job and home and my own family, but this transition is difficult.

Am I being inconsiderate and selfish? How should I approach speaking to my family in the best way? Should I be worrying so much about all of this?

Category: Tags: asked August 1, 2014

1 Answer

Tell your parents that you need to have a serious discussion with them. This should already put them in the mindset you're serious about whatever the topic is. If they like your fiancée and are comfortable with him being there (both of you should be comfortable with it as well), try bringing him along for the discussion. Either way, start by telling them you (both) have thought things through seriously, and that you have decided that your plan is settling in Australia. You can tell them how you feel about the family (not so close) but you love everyone anyways. I would probably say when you're alone with them that you are starting off on a work visa and that you may not settle permanently and that you know things may not work out or you may change your mind etc even if that is not true.You can't feel selfish for wanting to start your own life. It sounds like you are already living on your own in a different city? It will be difficult for both you and your family because you obviously care for them and love them.This by no means will be an easy discussion to have.All the best to you and yours, etc.